viernes, 29 de agosto de 2008

Mudhoney - Mudhoney (1989)

Mudhoney's first self-titled album came as a bit of a disappointment after the group's initial singles, and from the distance of over a decade it's even more of a sore thumb in the band's extensive discography. It's good, to be sure, but not great; the essential spark of the band got a bit lost over 40 minutes, where in three minutes' space the quartet could be the best act on the planet. Then again, arguably Mudhoney was trying to figure out how to make a full album work with their sound, and if it's not a perfect listen as a whole, there are still some great songs to hear. Jack Endino's production lives up to his reputation for rough, thick recording, but he's left just enough for the songs to breathe, whether it's the audible handclaps on "This Gift" or the quirky guitar riff leading into Dan Peters' rollicking drum rolls on "You Got It." "When Tomorrow Hits" is easily the sleeper hit of the record; later memorably covered by Sonic Boom in the dying days of Spacemen 3, its slow, dreamily threatening build shows off the band's ability for subtlety amidst the volume. "Flat out Fucked" about sums up the whole ethos of the album -- careening pace, compressed feedback roar, and Mark Arm's desperate but never self-important singing resulting in neo-garage rock anti-anthems. About as good is the brilliantly titled instrumental "Magnolia Caboose Babyshit," which gives Steve Turner and Arm a chance to show off some crazy acid rock/proto-funk guitar that avoids sucking, always a pleasure. A couple of draggy numbers and others that take a good idea but almost run too much with it ("Come to Mind," well, comes to mind) keep things from fully working, but next time out Mudhoney would have the perfect combination down. Source: [AMG]

Mudhoney - This Gift

Track Listing
1. This Gift
2. Flat out Fucked
3. Get Into Yours
4. You Got It
5. Magnolia Caboose
6. Come to Mind
7. Here Comes Sickness
8. Running Loaded
9. The Farther I Go
10. By Her Own Hand
11. When Tomorrow Hits
12. Dead Love


sábado, 9 de agosto de 2008

Drugstore - Drugstore (1995)

After a slew of singles that won praise for their smoky and sweet feelings of Jesus and Mary Chain/Mazzy Star strung-out psych-and-bliss late-night atmosphere, Drugstore went ahead and created an album that lived up to those expectations. But that's a too simplistic comparison in some ways, thanks largely to the inspired singing from bassist Isabel Monteiro. A just-confrontational-enough character in interviews, that quality carries over to her recorded work as well, able to hit aggressive points more than Hope Sandoval ever could and unafraid of not always being cool like the Reid brothers. No trace of her Brazilian accent surfaces -- if anything she sounds like she could be a cross between Patsy Cline and Marianne Faithfull, with all the ability and control that implies. Consider "Alive" as a particularly fine example, her simple conclusion of "I am burning" suiting the circular feedback loop and hint of violin that concludes the track, or the low-key backing vocals overdubs on the hushed "Saturday Sunset." As a group, Drugstore clearly has its inspirations, but the result is thoroughly attractive while retaining a strong sense of individual drama. Guitarist/keyboardist Daron Robinson knows how to crank it up and keep it calm, and while it becomes something of a formula by the end of the disc, it still works very well. Call it a sense of loud/soft dynamics in a different setting, rather than repeating the obvious Pixies/Nirvana conclusions so many other '90s bands ground into the dust. "Favorite Sinner" is a fantastic example of same, with a soft sense of building threat as Chris Isaak-styled reverb twang turns into a slow burning feedback frazz and retreating again before an abrupt ending. "Solitary Party Groover" and the wonderful "Starcrossed" received the most attention due to their appearance as singles, but this whole album is an excellent, quietly enveloping treat. Source: [AMG]

Drugstore & Thom Yorke - El President

Track Listing
1. Speaker 12
2. Favourite Sinner
3. Alive
4. Solitary Party Groover
5. If
6. Devil
7. Saturday Sunset
8. Fader
9. Super Glider
10. Baby Astrolab
11. Gravity
12. Nectarine
13. Star-Crossed
14. Accelerate


martes, 5 de agosto de 2008

The Amps - Pacer (1995)

Initially, Kim Deal planned the Amps to be a solo project as she waited for her sister and fellow Breeder Kelley Deal to finish recovering from heroin addiction. Soon, the Amps flowered into a full-fledged band, recording material intended for both Kim's solo project and the third Breeders album. Recruiting drummer Jim MacPherson and two local Dayton musicians, Deal recorded Pacer in the summer of 1995, releasing it in the fall. Appropriately, the album is raw, punky, and amateurish -- it's lo-fi garage punk. Not only does Deal sound recharged by recording with a new band in such a rushed atmosphere, she contributes her most immediate and bracing songs since Pod, the first Breeders album. Pacer somewhat recalls the Pixies, but only in the sense that both bands rely on amateurish enthusiasm to rock, and both bands have an off-kilter sense of song structure. In that sense, the Amps also take a great deal from Guided by Voices, who the Breeders covered on their 1994 Head to Toe EP. But the key to Pacer is its primitive energy. From the brutally pounding "Empty Glasses" and the charmingly sleazy "Tipp City" to the singsong pop of "Pacer" and the fractured melodic rock of "Hoverin" and "Breaking the Split Screen Barrier," Pacer is exciting, gut-level rock & roll. Source: [AMG]

The Amps - Tipp City

Track Listing
1. Pacer
2. Tipp City
3. I Am Decided
4. Mom's Drunk
5. Bragging Party
6. Hoverin'
7. First Revival
8. Full on Idle
9. Breaking the Split Screen Barrier
10. Empty Glasses
11. She's a Girl
12. Dedicated